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Mark Bilowus, MD
Women and Hair Loss -" You Are Not Alone
Bilowus Medical

Women and Hair Loss -" You Are Not Alone

You are not alone if you are troubled by thinning hair, and you dont understand why you are losing hair. Hair loss in women differs from men. The patterns of hair loss in women are not as easily recognizable as in men.

Unlike men, women do not go bald. Women exhibit a generalized thinning while the hairline remains spared. Nevertheless, hair loss can be emotionally distressing. In the past, women have resorted to wigs and hairpieces to conceal their hair loss. With the development of new techniques of follicular unit transplantation, many women who were not considered good candidates can now achieve excellent, natural-looking results.

Hair loss affects at least 20% of women. Although it may afflict some teenagers and young adults, dermatologists say that women may begin seeing signs of hair loss between the ages of 40 and 55. Several factors contribute to this shedding of hair.


The cause of hereditary hair loss in women has not been determined. It is clearly a different mechanism than in men. Typically the onset begins as early as late 20s, and becomes more apparent by early 40s.

Hair loss can occur with hormonal changes, oral contraceptives, early menopause, or after childbirth. Significant hair loss often seen after pregnancy usually grows back.

Nonhormonal causes include thyroid gland disorders, iron deficiency anemia, medications, nutritional changes from dieting and rapid weight loss, the stress of illnesses and surgical procedures, injury and diseases of the scalp, and most commonly emotional stress.

Following facial cosmetic surgery, like face and brow lifts, hair loss may occur in the hairline, along the incisions, and in the temple resulting in styling difficulties from loss of bangs. These situations are easily corrected with hair transplants.


Rogaine, Minoxidil 2%, has been reported to be effective in up to 40% of women. The 5% solution could be more effective but unwanted hair in other areas may be a side effect. Propecia, the first and only pill to treat male pattern hair loss, is not FDA approved for women.

Hair transplantation, can be very effective for women, especially in thickening the frontal area, which allows for more styling alternatives. The hair density in the donor area must be carefully evaluated to ensure that the patient is a candidate.

Hair transplantation is a very safe, relatively minor surgical procedure in which hair follicles from a permanent hair-bearing area of the scalp are removed and transplanted into thinning or balding areas. Consult with your doctor to find out the best treatment option for you.

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